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Land surveying

How to Buy a Land Surveying Business

Read this to find out how to land the perfect surveying business.

Land surveying has been important to urban progress for just about as long as there has been land. From The Great Pyramid of Giza to the Burj Khalifa, land surveying has always been fundamental to development.

Whether used to create a topographical map or pinpoint property lines before a sale, land surveying is a crucial element of construction, mapping, and law. Homeowners, government agencies, land developers, and organizations — anyone who owns property, or plans to build a structure, requires the services of a land surveyor.

Land surveying

The future of the industry is bright. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, land surveying jobs are projected to grow by 11 percent between 2016 and 2026 — faster than the average for all occupations.  

Before buying a land surveying business, you need to determine if this is even the right entrepreneurial path for you. Land surveying requires a lot of travel, physical labor, and an engineering mindset. This isn’t the type of business you can buy and operate in the background. A surveying business requires (literal) hands-on attention to succeed. If you have what it takes, consider the following tips to help you find a profitable surveying business.

The logistics of owning a land surveying business

Before beginning any sales negotiations, you first need to handle some logistics. After all, you are entering a technical field and certain accommodations must be made.

First, you will need to acquire proper licensing and accreditation. License requirements vary from state to state, but in general, you will need a bachelor’s degree. At the very least, a college degree will allow you to begin the process of proper accreditation in most states.

Land surveying

Next, you will need to pass an exam from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). NCEES is a national nonprofit that develops, administers, and scores engineering and surveying exams used for licensure. Passing the exam appropriate to your state, proctored by NCEES, is essential to becoming the owner of a land surveying business.

How to maximize assets

More so than other industries, engineering businesses depend on specialized equipment, personnel, processes and more, which can make it hard to break into the industry.  

This is why buying into an industry is usually preferable compared to starting a business from scratch.


When you buy a land surveying business, you are buying so much more than just the business itself. For example, consider how the following assets that come with a business purchase could enhance your entrepreneurial plan:

  • Customer base: Anytime you buy a business, you’re also buying a customer base. Finding customers is one of the most difficult parts of entering the industry — any worthwhile client will want to see a successful track record before they sign a contract. By buying into land surveying, you adopt an existing customer base and pedigree so you can hit the ground running.
  • Equipment : Total stations, CAD software, workstations, and more. The hardware and software required to run a land surveying business is not only extensive, but also very expensive. When you buy a business that already has these technologies in place, you can circumvent a lot of headache and cost.
  • Personel : Above all else, a strong, dedicated workforce will add the most value to your business. In this highly-specialized industry, finding reliable labor can be a major obstacle, and buying an existing land surveying business can help avoid a long, arduous hiring process.

The above assets will certainly be considered in the initial asking price, but consider this an up-front expense that will pay off in the long run by helping you quickly establish your business from day one.

Important land surveying success factors

As you look for businesses to buy, you might be overwhelmed by options. Which businesses are worth pursuing? How can you predict future success? Which prospects are worth your time and money? These questions and more are hard to answer when you’re new to the industry. But, there are some tried-and-true success factors to consider before signing a contract. Consider these top concerns to help narrow your search:

  • Location : It stands to reason that land surveying services will be in high demand in areas experiencing rapid development and expansion. Look for communities that are booming and experiencing above-average development.
  • Demographics : You need clients to make money. It’s as simple as that. Whether you’re contracted by homeowners, land developers, or public organizations, appealing to a particular client demographic will increase your chances of gaining momentum. Once you can land a few reputable accounts, more will come. Success in this industry tends to compound as you gain a reputation in the community, so do everything you can to land those first few clients.
  • Local competition: The average age of land surveyors is 55 years old, and it is estimated that 10 percent of the workforce retire every year. So, if you’re just now entering the market you’re already at an advantage. Still, do your homework on the local market, find your niche, and set yourself up for long-term success. 

Land surveying is an essential part of urban development and key to ongoing economic prosperity. If you’re ready to buy a land surveying business, check out local listings at

Bruce Hakutizwi

About the author

USA and International Manager for, a global online marketplace for buying and selling small medium size businesses. The website has over 60,000 business listings and attracts over 1.5 million buyers to the site every month.


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